I believe that every child in our technologically accessible 21st Century global environment has a basic human right to a comprehensive and free education that takes each child from current understandings to appropriately planned, coordinated, and supported next steps with the kindness and compassion of professionally trained educators.
I believe that all stakeholders (teachers, students, parents, administrators, community members, and government agencies) should approach the honor and ethical responsibility of educating our youth as complimentary members of a safe, positive, thoughtful, and proactive learning community showing students the best example of how many may work together to achieve a great goal in our country of opportunity. The focus is the student, not the adults. Everyone is in agreement that our children are the future of the human race, of our planet, and the joy of our hearts. A high-functioning school environment is like a happy bee hive of activity, where the focus is upon helping each individual achieve his or her aspiration or potential. A great school provides a wide variety of comprehensive experiences for students: academics, the arts, technology, science, collaboration in small and large groups, leadership opportunities at all levels, venues for each student’s voice to be heard, support for creative thinking, project-based activities, access to multiple levels of materials and supports, and an emphasis on positive attention for student actions as versus old-fashioned negative discipline strategies that foster negative outcomes. Educators best teach compassion, the fair and democratic themes of our Constitution, by being proactive to obtain comprehensive information in decision-making.
Planning must be data-based, with accurately collected data that is both formative and summative.
Data must also be comprehensive of the whole learning plan, not just reading and math. Conscientious, targeted instruction builds thriving students. While it is essential to teach from a set of standards ordered by age or grade, what is more important is that each student is taken brilliantly from wherever they are currently at, to the next appropriate level, in a rigorous and positive fashion. Thrilling challenges and opportunities should be the norm, not the exception.
Today’s student seeks to achieve in a world thick with influences in social media, advertising, and political spin.
The best examples of how to be a student and worldwide citizen are not always in the media headline or sound bite, and may have to be sought out in history or literature. Curriculum should include the classics. Curriculum should include activities using common core processing/thinking strategies to help develop deeper level skills. All students should experience the arts in one form or another to gain an understanding of other viewpoints and emotional experiences, to experience compassion and empathy while walking in another person’s shoes. All students must be taught the skill of finding “primary sources” to understand where information is coming from to assess its value.
I believe in creating classroom environments that appeal to engagement, not to conformity.
Class size must be reasonable enough so that teachers may work with students to design and organize a comfortable and welcoming place of learning that inspires thinking, creativity, and collaboration.
A school campus should be a place of joy and discovery, with laughter and music and an electric feeling of inquiry and achievement, where thinking is challenged and amended with new information, where problems are tackled with comprehensive and true information, where honesty is rewarded with respect, and where successes are celebrated as a team.
I am passionate about these beliefs because I believe that a great education can promote all that is best in humankind, can uplift spirit and hope for healthy and harmonious life on earth.